Today's Thursday Thinker

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

With the recent success most IU sports have been seeing, it could be said that we might be seeing a golden age of IU Athletics. You could certainly debate that years where the men's basketball team won the national championship represent more of a golden age, as they are undoubtedly the most popular team for Hoosiers fans, but can one team's victories really define a period of prosperity for the entire athletic program? This is one theory I would like you to consider when answering today's question.

That question is: Are we currently in the Golden Age of IU Athletics? There's a lot to consider with this question, so allow me to break down a few ways you can look at this, and provide answers.

Firstly, has the Golden Age of IU Athletics already passed? As I stated above, you could make a strong argument that the time period encompassing the 1975-76 school year through the 1986-87 school year was a golden age for IU, as the basketball team led by Bobby Knight recorded 3 national championships, including the last undefeated men's basketball national champion. While I have only mentioned the well-known accomplishments of one sport, as the Athletic Department likes to remind us, the Hoosiers are "24 Sports, 1 Team," and one sport succeeding does not mean all sports are succeeding.

Which is why you could reasonably consider the current period to be a Golden Age for athletics. Todd Yeagley has continued the tradition of excellence for the men's soccer program his father built, and added an 8th star two seasons ago. Tracy Smith has built IU baseball into a legitimate national contender, and Kaufmann Field has been a fantastic replacement for Sembower Field since it opened last season. Kevin Wilson has brought some excitement back to Memorial Stadium, and appears to have the football team on the cusp of doing something important. Curt Miller has women's basketball making a deep run in the women's NIT after not even sniffing the postseason the few years prior. All around, programs are either reaching, returning to, or maintaing relevance on the national stage.

The final thing to consider is that perhaps IU's true Golden Age of Athletics is still ahead of it. Obviously, we can't really speak to how that may play out or when, but as an answer for this question, it does have some merit.

I look forward to seeing what time periods you may come up with, and why you believe them to be the Golden Age. One more time, the question is: Are we currently in the Golden Age of IU Athletics?

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